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Havana hopes to boon tourism with Sidewalk Sale, Tobacco Museum reopening

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 23:21:04-04

HAVANA, Fla. (WTXL) — The Town of Havana, impacted heavily by COVID-19 is working to get tourists back on its streets.

Havana is hoping that bringing back their Sidewalk Sale and the reopening of Shade Tobacco museum will bring tourists back to the city.

Havana usually welcomes thousands of tourists a year.

When the coronavirus pandemic closed many businesses in April and May and canceled two major events it cost the town $20,000 in revenue.

This weekend the Sidewalk Sale will allow businesses to showcase their products while still following social distancing guidelines.

Tony Lombardo, the executive director of Havana Main Street says they are trying to get businesses back on their feet.

"We’re trying to generate things that will bring people back up here," said Lombardo. We fully anticipate we’ll get a good crowd."

Lombardo says the Main Events board just canceled another event set to take place in August due to the rise in cases.

If you go to Havana and don’t have a mask there will be people handing them out for free.

"We've got so many calls about when we were going to open up," said Berta Kemp, the co-chair at Shade Tobacco Museum. "We're anxious to get back to what we need to do."

Kemp used to pick or "prime" tobacco as a child in Havana.

She says this is the perfect time to reopen Havana's Shade Tobacco Museum, hoping they will get traffic from the Sidewalk Sale.

"People taking a peek at history with mask and spread apart," Kemp said.

"It's very significant that we get our businesses back up and booming," said Decorkus Allen, the mayor of Havana.

The mayor, like many business owners, is hoping this weekend will make the difference in turning the quiet town back into a tourist hub.

"The more people we get the more people can see we are open, that we’re safe," Lombardo said. "And not only do they come back but they bring people with them"
In Havana, Kristian Thomas ABC 27.

The Sidewalk Sale kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday and the Shade Tobacco Museum opens at 10:30 a.m.